Tuesday night was the premiere of the Lifetime movie “The Craigslist Killer.” According to its website and the previews I’ve seen on every station, “The Craigslist Killer follows the dark, mysterious life Philip Markoff conducted online while preparing for a promising future as a doctor and a life of happiness with his fiancée — beginning with his alleged April 14, 2009, first-degree murder of a masseuse who advertised her services on Craigslist.”
Prior to seeing the movie, I was willing to give it a chance and was hoping that it would portray the victims as just that — victims — and that it wouldn’t be some cheap, pathetic attempt to capitalize on a horrific criminal who abused dozens of women and killed one.
Lifetime calls the 2009 murder of my friend and former employee, Julissa Brissman, “alleged.”
Phillip Markoff was convicted of this crime. It’s not alleged — it’s a fact and he is a murderer.
Lifetime did not even name the real victim here — and her name is Julissa Brissman. She was a sweet girl, albeit troubled. She was working through her troubles and trying to make a better life for herself. She did not deserve to die.
And she deserves to be named. We should not belittle her life by not giving her a name and prizing a movie where the victims are secondary.
As an advocate for women’s rights, I find this appalling.
I believe that prostitution should be decriminalized, if not legalized, so that women who are victims are afforded legal protection and can call the police if they are victimized. Let’s not forget that Phillip Markoff was found to have the trophies of dozens of women he victimized. If one of them felt comfortable calling the police, then Julissa Brissman would still be alive and this man would have been caught.
Although we kid ourselves that we live in a progressive society, we are still quite closed-minded. Lifetime did not give Julissa a name because society doesn’t place any value on the lives of sex workers. Because they commit crimes, they are automatically deemed to be less valuable members of society.
Kristin Davis is the ex-madam who supplied call girls for Eliot Spitzer after founding the world’s most successful escort service. She pled guilty to one count of promoting prostitution and served four months on Rikers Island. An outspoken libertarian and women’s rights advocate, she ran for governor of New York as a protest candidate last year.